For the first time in history, more than 30 percent of Americans aged 25 or older—56 million people—have a bachelor's degree. In 1940, only 5 percent of that same age population held a college degree. That number climbed to 26.2 percent by 2001, and hit the record in March 2011, despite the skyrocketing cost of higher education. Across all age groups, 30 percent of women hold a degree, compared to 31 percent of men. Among young people, women hold an edge 36 percent of women between the ages of 25 and 29 have a degree, compared to 28 percent of their male peers.